A powerful story of a young Indian rag picker who aspires to be an engineer as he picks electronic waste to make machines from a monstrous hill of waste, has won top prize at this year’s Bradford Small World Film Festival.

City’s Stepchild and the Dumphill Dreams by Delhi-based director Pranab Aich also took the documentary shorts top award. The moving film about children living at the margins of health and poverty was one of 31 which was selected by Bradford UNESCO  City of Film to be played in the month long film festival celebrating the diversity of life through film, in City Park on the Big Screen.

A carpet weaver’s story of losing her family in a bomb attack, My Sardasht directed by  Ziba Arzhang  from Iran won in Best Animation.  And a tale of a botched blind date, The Park Bench, by American director G. Daniel Bailey won in the make Make Us Laugh category.  A special category featuring work from Sydney UNESCO City of Film with a focus on overcoming disability and prejudice was also screened for the panel.

In a new addition to the festival, the winners were selected by Bradford people from all walks of life, coming together last night (Tuesday 21 June) as the People’s Panel in the glorious surroundings of City Hall.

Festival director, David Wilson said: “We had a brilliant evening and I was bowled over with the enthusiasm and energy of our wonderful panel.  We had a really enjoyable and challenging time picking the winners as the quality and creativity of our filmmakers was so high.

Panel member Rebecca Crabtree said: “It’s been a really enjoyable evening and the films covered such a variety of subjects giving us insights into all different sorts of worlds which I really liked.”

Nasrina Malik who also sat on the panel said: “It’s been absolutely brilliant sitting on the People’s Panel. It’s been an event for all ages with both young and old here.  I was able to bring my elderly mum to the event and together we really enjoyed watching and voting for the films. It’s been a wonderful experience to share and we’d like to see more of these events in Bradford.”

You can still catch the films on the big screen twice a day until the end of June.  For the programme see the website:  http://www.bradford-city-of-film.com/enjoy/smallworldfilmfestival/.

Some of the films will also be selected to play at the the Harrogate International Festival next month.

Bradford Small World Film 2016  Festival Finalists

Finalists in the Animation category

  • Canned directed by Ivan Joy, Tanya Zaman and Nathanial Hatton, USA

A street artist paints a beautiful mural of a woman on the wall, and is suddenly chased by police for having vandalised. The beautiful creation comes to life to save her creator in a chase scene through the favela’s of Rio de Janeiro.

  • Wildlife Crossing directed by Noro Držiak and Anthony Wong, Czech Republic

The story of a witty and dynamic narrative about love of two snails, which must overcome the pitfalls of the harsh reality that separates them – the road in the middle of the countryside. Does he overcome his handicaps and proofs that true love never gives up

  • My Sardasht directed by Ziba Arzhang, Iran (CATEGORY WINNER)

A bomb causes devastation in the city of Sardasht, leaving Kajal as the only survivor of her family. The story is told through carpet weaving.

Finalists in the Documentary Short category

  • Together we are Beautiful directed by Natasha Hawthornthwaite, UK

 A documentary about love and happiness. The film follows a couple and their everyday life together. Filmed below the waistline along with the sound of their poems is an experimental way to see if the audience can understand characters without seeing their faces.

  • Master Kezban directed by Yavuz Özer, Turkey

The story of Master Kezban who has been a carpenter in a remote Anatolian village for 20 years.

  • Hussein and Hassan directed by Jamillah van der Hulst, Netherlands

Passionate boxing coaches Hussein and Hassan are the driving forces behind the East Coast Boxing Club, located in Naguru, one of the poorest neighborhoods of Uganda’s capital city Kampala. At a young age Hussein and Hassan had a successful international boxing career. This motivated them to go back to their local community and to support young boxers who, despite the tough living conditions, want to pursue their dreams to be something.

  • The Barnyard Sanctuary directed by Rebecca Blomgren, USA

An animal sanctuary in Northwest New Jersey focuses on saving livestock from abandonment, homelessness, and slaughter

  • City’s Step Child and the Dump Hill Dreams directed by Pranab Kumar Aich, India  ( CATEGORY WINNER AND OVERALL WINNER)

Unlike the many rag pickers working at this dump hill in Delhi, young Devendra is committed to collecting electronic waste discarded from our homes, in an attempt to create machines. Even the carcinogenic gases emitting from this hill have not been able to poison his engineering dreams. This documentary takes us through the breadwinning yet melancholic hill made out of city waste and its inhabitants living at the margins of health and poverty.

Finalists in the Make Us Laugh category

  • The Park Bench directed by G. Daniel Bailey, USA. (CATEGORY WINNER)

Two different men. Two different blind dates. One park bench. What could possibly go wrong?

  • Indalopathy directed by Jaime Garcia, Spain

The life of an ancient village changes by an unexpected present.

  • Hijabi Fashionista directed by Aya Algergawy, The United Arab Emirates.

Since the Hijab is quite a tactful matter, this short film aims to amiably portray the evolution of the head veil also known as the hijab from 1970 till today as many seem to seek it as a fashion trend